By The Tablet Staff
WILLIAMSBURG — The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast — a beloved Williamsburg tradition featuring 12 days of fun, food, rides, music, and tributes to an Italian saint — has begun.
The feast’s opening night took place on Wednesday, July 6 with a Mass at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan. The crowds were also treated to fireworks that lit up the night sky while they enjoyed the rides, games, and food that the feast brought out.
The 135th OLMC Feast, which pays tribute to Saint Paulinus, the patron saint of Nola, Italy, runs this year from July 6-17. All of the activities are centered around the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at 275 North 8th St. in Williamsburg.
The lively street fair originated with Italian immigrants who came to America, settled in Williamsburg, and wanted to celebrate their heritage.
The highlight of the feast is the Dancing of the Giglio, set to take place on Sunday, July 10, at 1:30 p.m. when hundreds of men will carry a 72-foot-tall, 4-ton statue of Saint Paulinus through the streets as they dance to Italian music. The giant statue is adorned with lilies, known in Italian as “giglio.”
In addition to the Dancing of the Giglio, the feast offers a variety of activities for kids and grownups alike.
Here is the schedule of events for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast:
- Thursday, July 7, 6:30 p.m. — Children’s Giglio Family Night
- Sunday, July 10, 11:30 a.m. — Mass in Honor of St. Paulino celebrated by Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
- Sunday, July 10, 1:30 p.m. — Dancing of the Giglio and Boat.
- Tuesday, July 12, 6:30 p.m. — Children’s Giglio Family Night 2
- Wednesday, July 13, 7:30 p.m. — Giglio Nighttime Lift. Fireworks at 9 p.m.
- Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m. — Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast Day English Mass celebrated by Msgr. David Cassato.
- Saturday, July 16, 2 p.m. — Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast English/Italian Mass celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Nicholas DiMarzo.
- Saturday, July 16, 3 p.m. — Procession of the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
- Sunday, July 17, 3 p.m. — Old Timers’ Giglio Sunday. Dancing of the Giglio.
The feast was canceled for the first time ever in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Dancing of the Gigio has been canceled twice — once in 1945 due to a shortage of volunteer carriers during World War II and again in 2020 because of the pandemic.